Nutt announces Nix hire

Ole Miss Football Coach Houston Nutt faced the media today at the IPF with a big smile on his face. Why? Mississippi football icon Tyrone Nix will be his new defensive coordinator. Read a transcript of the press conference inside.

The following is a transcript of Ole Miss Football Coach Houston Nutt's press conference announcing the hiring of Tyrone Nix as his defensive coordinator.

HN: I'm really pleasaed to announce the hiring of a fine young man, a great football coach and even better person. Tyrone Nix has decided to join us. I have had a very good relationship with him for 10 years. I tried to hire him once before when I was at Arkansas. He's an excellent X and O guy, quality person and great family man who understands the SEC - he's been there. He's done a great job for Coach (Steve) Spurrier at USC. I know he hates to lose him. We are very excited to have him.

We also have David Lee coming to be the offensive coordinator. He will finish up at the Cotton Bowl and then join us. Ron Dickerson I mentioned to you before is on the road right now. Kim Dameron is also on the road. Tony Hughes is doing a really good job for us right now. We don't know how anything else is going to play out right now, but I have a very good feeling about the others. I'm pretty sure Tracy Rocker is coming and will know more next week on the others.

Q: Was Tyrone's presence in Mississippi a big determining factor for you?

HN: Huge. He knows the state of Mississippi inside and out. He's a guy who is mentioned in this state and everyone knows him. Not only do they know him, there is instant credibility with his character. He is known for a great work ethic. I think our players will really enjoy playing for him and I am excited by that.

Q: What are the signature aspects of a Tyrone Nix defense?

HN: The first thing you see is how hard players play for him. He is energetic and has a lot of passion and his players are a direct extension of him. He has outstanding energy and he's very good X and O, but no matter where he has been, his guys play extremely hard and play for a full 60 minutes.

Q: In 2007, his SC defense was very good against the pass and not as good against the run. Comments?

HN: You have to look very closely at the number of injuries he had. I'm not making excuses for him, but I know that having played against him later in the year. You watch how close he played LSU and he beat Georgia early on while healthy. He had all his bullets early and then some got depleted with injury. At Arkansas, we had a very good game against his defense because he had lost guys like Brinkley and some other key players.

Q: When will he be in Oxford and on the ground recruiting?

HN: Tomorrow.

Q: When was your first contact with him?

HN: Tyrone had made a call to a friend of mine that he may be looking. He was not unhappy working for Coach Spurrier - he said that many times to me. Once I got permission from Coach Spurrier to call him, I could tell the conversation was goind good. The number one factor that kept coming up is that Mississippi is home. It's home for him and he missed it. That's perfect for me. When I am riding with him, I won't have to get the road map out all the time. (laughs) That was the key - home.

Q: What about Reggie Herring?

HN: I talked a long time with Reggie. He is going after the Arkansas job full bore and I will help him with that any way I can. He also has some other opportunities he is interested in. I needed someone to recruit right now and he couldn't do that. I can't say enough about the job he did for me. I'm hoping he can get that Arkansas job.

Q: Nearly half your staff, it appears, will be minorities. Were you thinking along those lines with the hires?

HN: I never look at skin color, I was raised that way. Ron Dickerson, Chris Vaughn, Tyrone Nix and Tracy are quality people, you can't beat them, and color has nothing to do with it. I don't worry about that. I worry about the kind of person they are and they are all quality people, again, if they all come. I know these guys know how to persuade and convince young men how to get to the next level.

Q: Who will coach what?

HN: David Lee OC/QBs and Tyrone Nix DC/LBs and I'd just like to leave it like that right now.

Q: What are the terms of the Nix contract?

HN: It's a two-year deal and I will leave the money part to Pete Boone.

Q: What about Markuson and Shibest? Are you waiting on them?

HN: I'm hoping they will come. They have been extended the opportunity. Shibest is from there and I'm sure he's torn right now. We'll see how it all plays out.

Q: Did you feel Tyrone would not be retained by Spurrier or was money an issue?

HN: I don't know anything about that. I just always felt he did a great job and I think he wanted to come home.

Q: When did you try to hire him at Arkansas?

HN: I think around 2000 or 2001, when he was still at USM. I was going to hire him as a position coach with DC John Thompson.

Q: Considering the restrictions you have had with not having a full staff on the ground, are you making good progress in recruiting?

HN: Oh yes. We feel very good about it. We will have plenty of time to get the right 25 in here. We will sign 25 and maybe a few more to place. We are excited about everything and it's coming together very quickly.

Q: How are you coming in evaluating the current commitments from the previous staff?

HN: We are getting there. I know the athletes want to know and we are going as quickly as we can. We are getting there.

Q: How excited are you to get Tyrone on your staff?

HN: Very. I have been around him a lot on the road and in recruiting and at conventions and I have always had a good feeling about him and for him.

Q: What about Tony Hughes?

HN: He is being a team player by being on the road recruiting. We are still in a wait-and-see mode with him, but he's done an excellent job in recruiting and is an outstanding coach. We will see how it plays out. I know that is tough for him but he's making the most of it. He has been a very good bridge for us - very good. And our GAs and Kent McLeod have done a tremendous job too. (GA) Joel Rodriguez is on the road today.

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